Anytime a tree falls down in the middle of practice, it’s safe to say the conditions weren’t exactly favorable.
As Denver experienced gusts of wind from 45 to 70 miles per hour, the Broncos felt the consequences on the football field during Monday’s passing camp practice.
The wind made the team’s punters look like Hall of Famers. Britton Colquitt and A.J. Trapasso boomed kicks out of their own end zone — with the wind at their backs — that approached the opposite end zone and occasionally bounced out of the back of it.
Matt Prater certainly got a look at some of the worst conditions he could face come gameday. The team dragged out uprights skinnier than the normal posts — think Arena League size — and Prater essentially aimed 10 yards to the right of the posts only to see the ball swoop back left and through the uprights before continuing to sail.
“Hopefully we won’t have a game like this, but at least we got some experience if we do,” Prater said, predicting that he could have made an 80-yard field goal with the wind. “They were sailing pretty good today.”
To that point, Prater kicked several of his attempts through the uprights and all the way over the top of the Dove Valley building.
It’s hard to judge anything the offense did during 7-on-7 drills Monday. While the drill was taking place, a tumble weed rolled across the field, followed quickly by a napkin and a grocery bag — not to mention the tree that fell on the side of one of the fields. Brian Dawkins started to chase down a piece of paper he lost, and Andre’ Goodman took off after it as well before Dawkins told him to let it go. It quickly flew into the players’ parking lot, before later being tracked down by an equipment manager.
Kyle Orton started off 7-on-7s with three straight incompletions. To give you a taste of the conditions, a short pass to the right intended for Lance Ball out of the backfield flew out of bounds once the wind caught it.
Still, with such unfavorable conditions, Eddie Royal said he was impressed with what the quarterbacks were able to do.
“They actually did a good job of throwing in the wind, so I’ve got to give them credit today,” he said.
Royal himself struggled with the gusts from time to time.
“I was lining up and the wind was blowing me (offsides),” he laughed. “So if it would’ve been a game I would’ve had a few false start penalties.”
Jamal Williams said it was snowing when he first came to Denver to join the Broncos, so he wasn’t too shocked by the strong winds on Monday.
“Little bit of dirt, bugs flying in my mouth, but it’s good,” he smiled.
Robert Ayers, for one, joked that he tried to use Williams to shield the wind.
“I was trying to find someone to hide behind, but I didn’t have too much luck,” he laughed.
There’s no such thing as a depth chart during OTAs, but when the team lined up for 11 on 11 drills, the offense consisted of Tyler Polumbus, Seth Olsen, J.D. Walton, Chris Kuper and Zane Beadles (from left to right) along the offensive line, Spencer Larsen at fullback, Knowshon Moreno at running back, Kyle Orton at quarterback, Daniel Graham at tight end and Jabar Gaffney and Brandon Lloyd at receiver.
On defense, Le Kevin Smith, Jamal Williams and Jarvis Green were on the line with Robert Ayers, Mario Haggan, D.J. Williams and Baraka Atkins behind them at linebacker. Champ Bailey, Goodman, Dawkins and Renaldo Hill were in the secondary.
In a special teams drill, two gunners sprinted downfield to try to pin a returner near the goal line. Players rotated through the drill, and college free agent safety Kyle McCarthy stood out during his repetition. He forced a fumble that he picked up and ran into the end zone, drawing praise from defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale.
During an offense-only drill, Tim Tebow stood in at quarterback and barked out a call, but offensive coordinator Mike McCoy stopped the play before it began to point something out to the rookie.
Marquez Branson continued to get involved in the offense, taking a few snaps at fullback but mostly participating as a pass-catching tight end. During 7-on-7s, he made one of the only catches of the afternoon despite the wind, leaping over a linebacker to haul in a catch. It even drew “ooohs” from some of the media since so many other passes had fallen incomplete.
Tony Carter made his presence known, looking in a Tom Brandstater pass for an interception that he returned for a touchdown, much to the delight of his teammates on defense. David Bruton met him in the end zone for a leaping celebration.
A ball Orton tried to loft downfield for Royal caught the wind and flew directly into the waiting arms of Darcel McBath for an interception. He turned and ran back upfield while the offense ran to stop him, including Tim Tebow, who wasn’t even in on the play.
Check out more pictures from the session below.
Later this afternoon we will have more from Broncos TV, a photo gallery and a top story on the day’s biggest news.
-Gray Caldwell, DenverBroncos.com
Tags: Passing Camp